AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS

A vivid, behind-the-scenes examination of the close relationship between George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev in the last scenes of the cold war. Seldom has recent diplomacy been described with the kind of depth provided here by Beschloss (The Crisis Years, 1991, etc.) and Time editor-at-large Talbott (The Master of the Game, 1988, etc.). With the help of unusual access so close to events—there are notes on closed-door meetings, negotiating sessions, and telephone calls, and just-after-the-fact discussions with diplomats (many of whom seem to bask in self-importance)—the authors show in almost day- by-day fashion how the US and Soviet governments moved from lingering suspicion to partnership in the ``new world order.'' Along the way, they reveal how, during the first six months of the Bush Administration, the Americans grumbled about Gorbachev's diplomatic grandstanding while the Soviets fumed over the mystifying ``pause'' Bush took before pursuing the diplomatic initiatives of Ronald Reagan; how Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze finally convinced an initially skeptical James Baker of his good faith in bargaining; how Bush and Gorbachev worked out their differences on German reunification and the Persian Gulf War; and how Richard Nixon received a warning of the abortive coup against Gorbachev several months before it occurred. While giving the American and Soviet leaders high marks for developing the trust that helped them end the cold war, Beschloss and Talbott also criticize their curious political tone-deafness (Gorbachev's shift toward the right encouraged Kremlin hard-liners to crack down on the Baltics, while Bush's concern for ``prudence'' made him prefer dealing with institutional leaders like Gorbachev and Poland's Gen. Jaruzelski rather than revolutionaries Lech Walesa and Boris Yeltsin). Despite the self-serving tone of many of the diplomats interviewed: a superb early take on a watershed period in diplomatic history.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 1993

ISBN: 0-316-10362-4

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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